Adobe Business Catalyst vs Wordpress

Comparing Website Solutions

Most people we come across have heard of Wordpress as a popular solution for having a website built, and it is certainly one of the most popular platforms out there.

Our preference however, is to use Adobe Business Catalyst. This is an all in one website and marketing platform, which not only provides a website, but has all the fundamental tools required for online marketing.

We loved it so much, that for years we used nothing else. However, as we began to provide consulting and mentoring to small businesses we found many clients already already had existing Wordpress sites, and so it made sense to provide support for these as well.

On the flip side, we also noticed that some of our clients were not using the built in sales, lead generation and marketing features which Adobe Business Catalyst sites have. So we now have a dedicated WordPress developer on our team.

We will always provide you with the option which we think is best suited to your immediate and future needs, and have a quick summary here for you so you understand the main points of difference between the two platforms.


Pros of WordPress

  • Well known platform
  • Its functionality can be exponentially expanded with a variety of plugins and third party integration
  • Most third party marketing products will integrate with WordPress

Cons of WordPress

  • The out of the box functionality is very basic and requires a lot of plugins (with their associated issues of updates and maintenance and ongoing compatibility) to provide extra functionality such as SEO, forms and so on.
  • Require additional ongoing maintenance just to keep on top of version updates, security updates, plugin updates and then related compatibility checking.

Perfect If

  • You have all the security and maintenance platform and server updates and backups included as part of your hosting, or are aware of and prepared to pay for this as an additional service
  • You only want a very basic website, and have no intention in the foreseeable future to do email marketing, customer relationship management or other marketing functionality OR
  • You are happy to have this integrated with third party products which you pay an additional fee for and need to learn how to use

Not Recommended If

  • You prefer all the updates to the server and security and backups to be handled automatically as part of your hosting
  • You struggle with learning or understanding multiple systems and prefer an all-in-one approach

Adobe Business Catalyst

Pros of Adobe Business Catalyst

  • All in one business, website, marketing and sales and customer management platform
  • One login to perform all your website updates, email marketing, landing pages
  • Top level, bank standard security

Cons of Adobe Business Catalyst

  • Not well known, so some marketers may not feel they understand how to use it (but we do!)
  • Some common marketing plugins and integrations may not have been created for Business Catalyst (but often this functionality can be created within Business Catalyst)

Perfect If

  • You are serious about having not just a website, but an online business, and understand that you will need to engage in online marketing activities as well as just having a website
  • You like the idea of learning one system well, rather than having lots of different systems and software to learn

Not Recommended If

  • You don’t intend to do any online marketing, and 
  • You only need a very basic, portfolio or brochure website

There are many other platforms out there, and we will recommend the best ones for you. For example, if your online shopping requirements don’t fit within the capability of Business Catalyst, we would recommend Shopify.

Simply put, we believe it's better.

We have built and maintained over 100 websites using Business Catalyst and have never had to upgrade a plugin, deploy a security patch or deal with conflicts between plugins. Adobe take care of all of that.

Key Comparison of Wordpress vs Business Catalyst.

Full online business functionality as part of core platform

While Wordpress is a great CMS & Blogging platform, a standard site has little more functionality than these two functions. There are many, many plugins which can be added to the standard site to extend its functions, but finding a good plugin which is maintained by its creator and guaranteed not to conflict with future Wordpress plugins is difficult. The more plugins you have, the more potential conflicts you open yourself up to.

Common plugins for SEO, email integrations, photo galleries, events, forms, image management just to name a few need to be added to have a fully functioning website.

In contrast, Business Catalyst has website & business functions built in with its core. As part of its basic platform you have built in email marketing, forms, image galleries, blog, customer database, sales tracking, news module and ecommerce to name a few.

The additional benefit of Adobe Business Catalyst here, is that with this full integration, you only need one login, and to learn one system to perform a wide range of your business functions.

Software As Service vs standard Wordpress hosting

Wordpress websites need to be hosted with a hosting provider. Each instance of Wordpress, once installed on a server becomes its own standalone system. All security updates, Wordpress updates, plugin updates and database updates need to be applied regularly to ensure the stability, security and functionality of your website. Security threats are constant, and without additional and ongoing server management, it is leaving one of your most valuable business assets exposed.

In contrast, a SaaS (Software as Software Service) such as Business Catalyst is a software platform which has the website software and hosting fully integrated which means that it - 

  • handles all the regular required updates and rolls them out with no action required on client or developer's part - saving time & costs
  • increases functionality with each automatic update with no action required on client or developer's part - saving time & costs
  • Business Catalyst has Payment Gateway and Bank standard PCI compliance.

Total Design Flexibility

Business Catalyst sites, have the ability to be totally custom designed. Wordpress websites can also have custom design, but most budget websites rely on a pre-existing theme. onlineiq is of the view that custom design is best for total customer business results.

Cost of Hosting and Ongoing Maintenance

While website hosting can be purchased very cheaply with some budget web hosts, this hosting does not typically come with the necessary server, security and Wordpress updates, let alone dealing with updating plugins and paying the developer to fix any conflicts or find new ones. We have had a number of Wordpress websites we had inherited hacked, whereas none of our over 90 websites on Business Catalyst have ever experienced a security breach, due to the built in maintenance.

The slightly higher hosting cost is like a a fixed cost hosting + maintenance fee, providing hosting, maintenance and ongoing functionality upgrades in the one hosting fee.

Built in Extensibility

Adobe Business Catalyst has the ability to 'start small' and have additional features switched on when you need it. No additional plugins but built in functionality which can be customised to your needs without requiring any plugins.

Open Source vs Proprietary

While developers love to have full control of the 'free' code and bend it to their will, there is a lot to be said for proprietary software. 

This topic often becomes a fervent argument about the merits of Open Source vs Proprietary - of almost religious fervour. Yet I find many people who are such huge proponents of only open source for websites are the first to recommend platforms and proprietary systems such as Shopify, Infusionsoft, Ontraport, MailChimp, LeadPages, ClickFunnels and so on.

Adobe Business Catalyst has the website functionality and the CRM and marketing automation of the above systems built in - to a level which fulfils the needs of most of the business owners I work with. However it can also integrate with some of the online automation giants if and when needed.

Built in Analytics

Business Catalyst reports on all the business activity on your website. Who fills out a form, and then subscribes to your newsletter. Who buys something, who opens a newsletter and so on. You can keep customer records within the website, and can track all the website activity from the Dashboard where you control your entire online business.

We are not alone in our views

Most people have heard of WordPress, and they assume it is the best solution. However many other professional agencies share the same view.

Having said all of that, if you still prefer to work with WordPress (many of our consulting clients have existing WordPress sites), we are more than happy to work with you, and help advise and fix any issues you are having with your website. We don't believe in changing something if it is working well for you.